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 Post subject: 2013 White Nights Festival
PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2013 7:50 am 
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Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
This year's White Nights Festival at the Mariinsky begins this Friday, May 24 and continues until the end of the season. Highlights include:

-Uliana Lopatkina in 2 rare appearances in Swan Lake (opening night, May 24, and again June 2)
-the annual Vaganova graduation performances (June 15, 16, 22 (and one other at the Alexandrinsky Theatre))
-the supposed premiere of Ratmansky's DSH ballet on July 4.
-an evening from NDT on July 5

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 Post subject: Re: 2013 White Nights Festival
PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 2:47 am 
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Catherine Pawlick wrote:
This year's White Nights Festival at the Mariinsky begins this Friday, May 24 and continues until the end of the season. Highlights include:

-Uliana Lopatkina in 2 rare appearances in Swan Lake (opening night, May 24, and again June 2)
-the annual Vaganova graduation performances (June 15, 16, 22 (and one other at the Alexandrinsky Theatre))
-the supposed premiere of Ratmansky's DSH ballet on July 4.
-an evening from NDT on July 5

Can you tell me please on what date the Vaganova are dancing at the Alexandrinsky Theatre and where to buy tickets online? Thank you!


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 Post subject: Re: 2013 White Nights Festival
PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 3:53 am 
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Hi Tiara,
They're at the Alexandrinsky on Wed June 26 at 4 p.m. but i have no idea when tickets are available.

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 Post subject: Re: 2013 White Nights Festival
PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2013 1:52 pm 
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Catherine Pawlick wrote:
Hi Tiara,
They're at the Alexandrinsky on Wed June 26 at 4 p.m. but i have no idea when tickets are available.

Thank you!


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 Post subject: Re: 2013 White Nights Festival
PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2013 7:05 am 
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Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
Last night the White Nights Festival began. I planned to write a formal review of Lopatkina's opening, but I arrived in the theatre only to learn she had been replaced by Kolegova. The 200-ruble White Nights Festival booklet still lists her on May 24, and she is not injured, so I presume this decision was made quite some time ago but never announced. I believe the website may have been updated the day of, but I typically do not double check. At 6:30 p.m. it did reflect Kolegova (as did the short printed programs) but those could have been updated the same morning.

In any case, the best surprise of the evening was Danila Korsuntsev back on stage as Prince Siegfried. With no perceptible remnants from recent injury (unless one counts the white adagio overhead lift, in which Kolegova did a press lift in arabesque rather than the arched-back / rotation with the back leg in attitude), he offered a stunning performance -- turns and jete manege to the left as always.

Two steely ladies danced the pas de trois, the fail-proof Elena Evseeva and iron woman Nadia Gonchar, both offering power and attack with enthusiasm. Maxim Zuizin partnered them with a cooler demeanor -- but with feet and legs like his, it almost, well, sometimes, doesn't matter. Pulling into a quintuple pirouette at the end didn't hurt matters either.

Daria Vasnetsova did a fine job as the most eye-catching of the four Big Swans, but unfortunately Yulia Stepanova's port de bras did not match the other four; nor did Lilia Lishuk's. There was a period when the four swans was led by Kondaurova (years ago), or included others (Novikova) who matched each other perfectly in height and technique. The current pairing appears lopsided, unfortunately. This was distracting, as the four big swans are typically one of the highlights of the corps work in Act One; certainly their section of the score is particularly grand.

Both Anna Lavrinenko and Oksana Marchuk appeared as the taller two of the four Little Swans, but the entire quartet, rounded out by Elena Chmil and Elena Firsova, maintained synchronicity and crispness in both their head positions and footwork.

Most pleasing were Karen --panache must be his middle name-- Iohannsen with Ksenia Dubrovina in the Hungarian Dance. A smiling Alexei Nedvega led the Neopolitan with a sprightly and very young Ksenia Romashova as his partner.

Rothbart's razor sharp mannerisms and air-cutting jumps were etched perfectly by Alexander Romanchikov, a reliable dancer in this role.

As for Kolegova, she was a very human Odette, but one senses a distance in her that isn't quite explicable. Her Odile was sharp and accurate. Technically she carries the entire ballet with confidence and professionalism, but one senses less a swan than a maiden caught in a fairytale in her rendition.

Pavel Bubelnikov conducted to a nearly full house. And so the white nights have begun...

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Author, "Vaganova Today: The Preservation of Pedagogical Tradition" (available on amazon.com)


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 Post subject: Re: 2013 White Nights Festival
PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2013 10:04 pm 
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I think the English version of the website (can't speak for the Russian) listed Kolegova either 1 or 2 days before the performance, because I happened to see it a day or two before the performance, and I emailed a friend telling how Kolegova is suddenly opening the festival instead of Lopatkina. But I am pretty sure it was fairly short notice for people. I think a last minute substitution could have been a lot, lot worse!

I am surprised about what you say concerning Stepanova's port de bras. The others must have had an off-night then, because her upper body is usually better than most. But maybe you meant the 4 swans were not together in sync. Not quite sure. I personally think Stepanova was born to dance Odette/Odile and hope she one day gets the chance!


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 Post subject: Re: 2013 White Nights Festival
PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2013 5:04 am 
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Catherine Pawlick wrote:
Last night the White Nights Festival began. I planned to write a formal review of Lopatkina's opening, but I arrived in the theatre only to learn she had been replaced by Kolegova. The 200-ruble White Nights Festival booklet still lists her on May 24, and she is not injured, so I presume this decision was made quite some time ago but never announced. I believe the website may have been updated the day of, but I typically do not double check. At 6:30 p.m. it did reflect Kolegova (as did the short printed programs) but those could have been updated the same morning.

In any case, the best surprise of the evening was Danila Korsuntsev back on stage as Prince Siegfried. With no perceptible remnants from recent injury (unless one counts the white adagio overhead lift, in which Kolegova did a press lift in arabesque rather than the arched-back / rotation with the back leg in attitude), he offered a stunning performance -- turns and jete manege to the left as always.

Two steely ladies danced the pas de trois, the fail-proof Elena Evseeva and iron woman Nadia Gonchar, both offering power and attack with enthusiasm. Maxim Zuizin partnered them with a cooler demeanor -- but with feet and legs like his, it almost, well, sometimes, doesn't matter. Pulling into a quintuple pirouette at the end didn't hurt matters either.

Daria Vasnetsova did a fine job as the most eye-catching of the four Big Swans, but unfortunately Yulia Stepanova's port de bras did not match the other four; nor did Lilia Lishuk's. There was a period when the four swans was led by Kondaurova (years ago), or included others (Novikova) who matched each other perfectly in height and technique. The current pairing appears lopsided, unfortunately. This was distracting, as the four big swans are typically one of the highlights of the corps work in Act One; certainly their section of the score is particularly grand.

Both Anna Lavrinenko and Oksana Marchuk appeared as the taller two of the four Little Swans, but the entire quartet, rounded out by Elena Chmil and Elena Firsova, maintained synchronicity and crispness in both their head positions and footwork.

Most pleasing were Karen --panache must be his middle name-- Iohannsen with Ksenia Dubrovina in the Hungarian Dance. A smiling Alexei Nedvega led the Neopolitan with a sprightly and very young Ksenia Romashova as his partner.

Rothbart's razor sharp mannerisms and air-cutting jumps were etched perfectly by Alexander Romanchikov, a reliable dancer in this role.

As for Kolegova, she was a very human Odette, but one senses a distance in her that isn't quite explicable. Her Odile was sharp and accurate. Technically she carries the entire ballet with confidence and professionalism, but one senses less a swan than a maiden caught in a fairytale in her rendition.

Pavel Bubelnikov conducted to a nearly full house. And so the white nights have begun...

I am totally surprised to read your criticism of Yulia Stepanova, since in my opinion she has the best port de bras in the company, and in fact I cannot remember ever seeing a dancer so gifted in this aspect. She has always had wonderful lyricism and expressiveness throughout her movement, but especially her arms, and exceptional musicality in every ballet I have seen her in at Mariinsky Theatre. I can understand her arms being considerably better than the others, but certain not inferior. Daria Vasnetsova also has lovely port de bras, but Lilia Lischuk's I would consider average only. Who was the fourth ballerina? I will be interested to hear who she was, and perhaps from point of view of height, she was not well-matched with the others? Vasnetsova is a couple of inches taller than Stepanova, so maybe they were generally not well matched height-wise. As far as port de bras go though, I cannot understand watch you mean about Stepanova's arms not matching the others.


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 Post subject: Re: 2013 White Nights Festival
PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2013 7:16 am 
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The 4th big swan was Yuliana Chereshkevich. She was fine.

I have to disagree with your comments about Stepanova. I know she has a big fan following online, but technically speaking, and when viewed live, her port de bras is from all objective points of view not the best in the company. (There are a few other coryphees or corps members with stiff fingers or hands...but that is for another discussion). To answer your question -- for this particular performance, Stepanova's arms were not in the proper positions -- namely her hands in 5th high, with fingers spread and not curled under. The three other girls matched each other in form - but she didn't match them (and Vasnetsova's port de bras have always been beautiful, she has that length of line...) Of the four, she just really stood out and my eyes kept going to her arms, wondering what was going on. Legwork was decent but I was very distracted by the arms. (Height was not an issue, there are slight differences in height between the four, but there usually are for both big and small swans -- so that wasn't an issue.)

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 Post subject: Re: 2013 White Nights Festival
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2013 2:20 am 
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Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
Swan Lake
Mariinsky Theatre
Saint Petersburg, Russsia
2 June 2013
by Catherine Pawlick

On the heels of Sascha Waltz's uber-modern Rite of Spring, and in the midst of no classical revivals for the spring/summer 2013 season, it seems that strengths of the Mariinsky still lie in its classical traditions. And those strengths are turning out to be the main highlights of this year's White Nights Festival. Thus, Uliana Lopatkina's performance of Swan Lake was a focal point as soon as the summer month programming was announced.

No doubt due to his ongoing recovery from a back injury, Lopatkina's usual Lake partner, Danila Korsuntsev, was not cast tonight. Instead Evgeny Ivanchenko filled his spot with mixed results. This supposition seemed proven during the Act I Adagio when Ivanchenko performed the 3 overhead rotating lifts with Lopatkina; a week prior Korsuntsev replaced the same lifts with direct presses when partnering Kolegova. One guesses this may have been the simple reason for the casting selection.

But to step back to the start of Act I, the audience was treated to the return of a beloved favorite in the role of Jester: Grigory Popov charmed the audience, carried the dramatic progression of Act I, and executed technical feats --the crowd-warming turns à la seconde, pirouettes to the tune of 5 or 6 at a time, and soaring jumps throughout-- without batting an eyelash. Compared to some less-impressive Jesters in recent casting decisions, he was a salve for the soul.

Ivanchenko's initial entrance wasn't greeted with the usual welcoming applause; his short variation included a tombé-plié preparation for en dehors attitude turns, and one sensed a dramatic absence from the action of Act I.

In contrast, the lady of the night entered to applause honoring her stature, and what followed was yet another essay in artistic purity and musical ingenuity. Lopatkina altered Odette's entrance ever so slightly -- the initial bourrée sequence was followed by a bourrée while turning, then several steps on the musical notes -- no jeté -- finishing in the swan pose in plié. At several points she altered a sauté in arabesque for a piqué, and following the face-to-face moment of capture, when Siegfried finally grasps Odette's hands in his, her bourrées were more glacial than frantic, the moments of panic expressed in her arms and face rather than her legs. The slight alteration in interpretation gave food for thought, lent depth to the entrance scene, and underscored the rare intellectual approach of this ballerina to one of ballet's most complex and yet seemingly surface roles. In the coda section, after some brisk entrechat quatre passés, she altered the piqué attitude to one in retiré passé, another considerate touch.

The pas de trois was danced admirably by Maxim Zuizin alongside Anastasia Nikitina and Elena Evseyeva. Invincibly reliable, both ladies lent sparkle to their roles. Zuizin managed a series of triple battu in his assemblés and a quadruple pirouette finish in the variation.

Andrey Soloviev replaced the program listing of Ilya Kuznetsov as Rothbart, and the casting choice proved an excellent one (as also witnessed by vocal supporters from the top balcony). Soaring jumps, sharp accents of the head and impeccable partnering in the sequences with Odette, this Soloviev has the makings of a strong soloist.

As the four little swans, Svetlana Ivanova stood out for her crisp footwork, flanked by Elena Chmil, Oksana Marchuk, and Valeria Martinouk.

Act II introduced verve in the national dances. A newcomer to the Spanish dance, Trofim Malanov, lent excitement and energy to his performance. The charming Kseniya Romashova joined muscular Aleksey Popov in the Neapolitan, and all of the ladies and gentlemen in the Mazurka delivered with polish.

That was followed by sultriness in the Black Swan Grand Pas. Lopatkina -- as with Kondaurova-- replaces the saut de basques with piqué turns in the first section, an elective choice, and infuses the dance sharpness, alternating with moments of tenderness that echo Odette. Thirty two perfect single fouettés later, and numerous curtain calls after Act II, the biggest challenges of the ballet were behind us, leaving only the victory over Rothbart and Odette's rescue to come.

Act III closed with a poignant ending --the same ending as always, but each time, touching. As Odette wakes up and the skyline turns pink, we know that love conquers all.

Overall the lushness, excitement, and depth of this performance will make it difficult to improve on as the White Nights Festival shifts into its final 8 weeks.

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 Post subject: Re: 2013 White Nights Festival
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2013 6:56 am 
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Catherine Pawlick wrote:
Act III closed with a poignant ending --the same ending as always, but each time, touching. As Odette wakes up and the skyline turns pink, we know that love conquers all.

Probably the most beautiful sentiment that there is with the beauty that works such as Swan Lake represent being one of the main reasons.


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 Post subject: Re: 2013 White Nights Festival
PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 6:19 am 
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Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
The Little Humpbacked Horse
Choreography - Alexei Ratmansky
25 June 2013
Mariinsky II Theatre
Saint Petersburg, Russia
Conductor: Valery Gergiev

The charming and bright fairytale ballet, The Little Humpbacked Horse, in Alexei Ratmansky's version set to music by Rodion Schedrin, is a quaint, entertaining production that first debuted here in 2009. At the time, the premiere casts included Alina Somova and Viktoria Tereshkina, but few others at the top of the principal dancer roster have performed the females roles. LHH (for short) has run intermittently since then, but it was not until last night that prima ballerina Uliana Lopatkina stepped into the role of the Tsar Maiden. Alongside a sprightly and energetic Vladimir Shklyarov, and the energizer allegro man of the hour, Grigory Popov in the title role, the cast proved top quality for a score conducted by the baton of Valery Gergiev himself.

LHH is heavy on pantomime and reference to the Russian character. We see 5 nursemaids who must feed the "little" Tsar his soup, and who do so using all methods that one would try on a 2 year old: distraction, plugging his nose, explaining that the soup will make him grow "big and strong." The humor is evident, but so is the political commentary (which is not Ratmansky's own, but rather stems from the initial libretto). The Tsar's every whim -- to purchase horses or not, to own the Tsar Maiden or not -- becomes instant command without logic. He is, after all, the Tsar. The buffoon-like peasants who form Ivan-the-Fool's family (his father and two brothers) fumble, bumble, harvest wheat, fight, make merry. A typical vision of Russian peasant life is thus presented before we reach the main conflict. Ivan the Fool has to fight the Tsar to keep the Tsar Maiden.

Also true to Russian culture, it is the Tsar Maiden who conceives of two tasks to prevent the Tsar from getting his way. She won't marry him with just any old ring, she insists on a pearl from the bottom of the sea. Ivan the Fool goes in search of the pearl. Luckily she wont' settle for that. She says the Tsar is ugly...he needs to jump in a pot of boiling water! Ivan the Fool tests it out first and comes out a prince. The Tsar is not so lucky -- he never exits the vat of boiling water. A commentary on good versus evil, on God's presence, or a universal power that extends greater than Man's Rule over man, perhaps?

But the dancing in the last act was stellar. Without sacrificing the playful girlishness in the Tsar Maiden's character, Lopatkina nonetheless managed to depict her innocence with grace, polish and a sense of refined regality. Shkylarov's energy was a balanced match for her lyricism; from his first entrance we sensed the boyish optimism, the conquer-all attitude that wins him the Tsar Maiden in the end. And Popov's affectionate pantomime, crystal clear petite allegro and swift duet and trio work with both Shklyarov an Lopatkina made his rendition one that will be a challenge to match.

On the stage of the spacious new theatre, one had a sense of the future of the Mariinsky traditions during this evening - a modern choreographer, a modern stage, young artists, but all stemming from the deeply rooted classical traditions of this city.

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 Post subject: Re: 2013 White Nights Festival
PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:19 pm 
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Catherine Pawlick wrote:
On the stage of the spacious new theatre, one had a sense of the future of the Mariinsky traditions during this evening - a modern choreographer, a modern stage, young artists, but all stemming from the deeply rooted classical traditions of this city.

Thanks for the review and this insight, Catherine. Do you sense two distinct identities forming between ballet presentations in the two theaters ?


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 Post subject: Re: 2013 White Nights Festival
PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2013 12:43 am 
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Buddy, it still remains to be seen (time will tell) but yes, so far, I do. They tend to put the more modern works on the new stage. I dont' foresee Bayadere or Swan Lake there but who knows...

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 Post subject: Re: 2013 White Nights Festival
PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2013 12:54 am 
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Thanks, Catherine. It will be interesting to see if there tends to be two sets of dancers because of the raked and unraked stages.


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 Post subject: Re: 2013 White Nights Festival
PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 2:14 pm 
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So far there is not. For example Ratmansky's DHS ballet premieres on July 4th (apt date) and it's on the flat new stage. The dancers have been rehearsing in the MT2 "rehearsal stage" which is behind the MT2 regular stage (yes literally straight behind it and ahem with no mirrors).

So far it's the same group of people going across the canal and back (outdoors as the "bridge" is not connected internally yet).

I heard now there are 2 of the 60 on board...

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